POLICE have admitted wrongly ordering the removal of a banner calling for a boycott of Tesco from a Blackburn building.
Blackburn with Darwen Council staff took the banner down from the side of the derelict Duke of Edinburgh pub, in Crabtree Street, yesterday morning at the request of a police officer.
Campaigners who organised a peaceful protest outside the store at the weekend have called for a full apology from both parties.
They are campaigning against firms who sell Israeli goods because of the conflict in Gaza.
Tesco has said it fully labels its products with countries of origin so that consumers are able to make an informed decision when they make a purchase.
Queen’s Park councillor Salim Mulla said he was called to the scene, opposite the Tesco store in Hill Street, at midday.
He said: “The protest group said the council had been instructed by the police to remove the banner. I knew nothing about it and merely came down to act for my constituents.
“I spoke to the police and they confirmed the situation but said they were sorry it had been taken down. I think the people who own the banner have been offered a reimbursement.”
A police spokesperson said: “Having received complaints from the public about the banner, a police constable asked the council to remove it. However, the content did not constitute a criminal offence and, with hindsight, we acknowledge that further consultation with the building owner, protest organiser and council should have taken place to find a suitable resolution.”
Asif Mahmud, from group Youth On A Mission, said the council and police had ‘shown a shocking level of incompetence’.
He added: “A full investigation should take place and a full unreserved apology to everyone who supports the Boycott Tesco campaign must be made.”
A council spokesman said: “We are aware of this issue. Once all the circumstances have been clarified, we will update those involved.”